After Vermont Liz and I drove to the town of Old Saybrook on the CT coast, staying there until Thursday morning. We had a great time with some great meals, great conversation and we got to watch Avatar on a big screen in 3D. Pretty cool. We did all but about 40 miles of the drive on Thursday, got a room, and then drove to the packet pick up on Friday. Remember that we were in a rental car after flying from Denver to Ohio the previous week. There was no scheduled pre-race briefing so we just picked up our packets, and hung out there at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium where there was wifi and lots of tall skinny people wearing running shoes.
An odd thing about this race, especially given that it was the national 100 mile championship race, was that there was not only no pre race briefing but also no post race awards ceremony! Awards were given as people finished the race. The finisher jacket was very nice and there was good food at the finish and it was all very well coordinated but it just seemed odd to me to have no award ceremony at a national championship race.
This race is a point to point race with buses providing a shuttle to the start VERY early in the morning. Liz and I like to maximize our sleep so found a runner we had met earlier in the year, Scott Garrett, and his crew who were gracious enough to shuttle our rental car back from the start to the finish area. That was a huge help to us. We looked for a spot to camp near the start but ended up getting a very nice room at a reasonable rate just a few miles away.
I don't have too much to say about the race itself but it was very well marked and easy to follow. The course runs through a pretty well populated area but most of the time you didn't feel close to civilization at all. It was mostly singletrack trail through the woods and very pretty. I did have one revelation during this race that I wished that I had discovered sooner. I mentioned in previous reports that I had been having some serious neuropathic pain in my big toes. Well, it came on with a vengeance during this run. It was so bad that I just had to stop and get off my feet. I did this at about 15-20 miles, sitting on a bench or log next to the trail. I sat for about 3 minutes and the pain subsided pretty much completely even that quickly. It was kind of odd that something that hurt so much could subside so completely and so quickly. But it did. And what was even more surprising was that once I started running again the pain was completely gone!
I found that I was able to run for another 5-8 miles until the pain began to build again and when it got bad enough I would start looking for a place to sit again. Sitting again for 3 minutes and I was good to go again for several more miles. This process continued until about 35 miles or so and after that I had no more problems with the toe pain though I think I did have some short periods where I could feel the pain but it was not disabling. It kind of sucked to have to completely stop several times but it was well worth it to avoid trying to run through that pain. After this race I would be flying back to GA and while there I planned to get a prescription for Neurontin which would hopefully take care of this problem.
The night passed and the sun came up. The temps had been warm during the day and that night but not too bad. Once again we had been lucky, catching a window of cooler temps in an area that had been broiling just days before. I finished in 26:38 and Liz came in at 27:42. There were a bunch of people and some nice breakfast foods at the finish. The aid stations were great with decent selections of food and lots of energetic folks manning the stations. Thank you all! The buckle holds the title of the largest buckle yet this year beating out the Graveyard buckle by a pretty wide margin.
We were both flying out of the Akron-Canton airport early Monday morning, Liz to Denver and me to Atlanta, so rather than spend money on a room we decided to camp out at the airport. We searched around and found a deserted carpeted spot and spread out our sleeping pads and bags. A security guard came by before we went to sleep and we explained our situation. She said it would be fine for us to sleep there. We set an alarm and got a surprising good night's sleep considering it was not too dark and at an airport.
Next up - Leadville after 2 weekends off.
Race count: Liz (21) Scott (15)